Interesting comments coming from some Penn State football players in light of an ESPN fan poll showing that 49 out of 50 states (Pennsylvania) picked USC over PSU to win the Rose Bowl.
''Obviously, it's disappointing that 49 other states don't think we have a shot in hell,'' Shipley said Friday at Penn State's bowl media day. As he was talking, left tackle Gerald Cadogan came by with the Penn State Football Story cameras in tow.
''What do you think, Gerald? You got a little chip on your shoulder?'' Shipley asked.
''Definitely,'' Cadogan replied. ''When nobody believes in you, it definitely gives you a chip on your shoulder.''
We have heard this before...like from Illinois last season.
Obviously PSU is a MUCH better team than Illinois was last season but lets not get carried away. SC played some very good Michigan teams in the Rose Bowl during this run and one of those Michigan teams was a late loss to tOSU from going to the MNC (Florida got in that year) and SC handled them pretty well. Not that really matters, but I caught this on a meassage board... Penn St. is is actually the second lowest ranked Big-10 team USC has faced in the Carroll era. Iowa was #3 before '03 Orange Bowl, Michigan #4 before '04 RB, Michigan #3 before '07 RB, and Ohio State was #5 before their 35-3 debacle in September Only Illinois was ranked lower.
PSU in 2008 is probably closer to the Iowa team we played in the Orange Bowl in '03. Don't get me wrong, this is not a "gimme" game for USC as PSU will be motivated but SC knows how to play in this type of game as well. As good as PSU may be this year they have never seen this type of defense before. Yes, USC has its own issues on offense as they will also face a pretty good PSU defense but the USC offense isn't a bunch of slackers, as they finished in the top 15 in total offense and scoring so if PSU thinks that SC will be anything other than highly motivated for this game they will be sorely mistaken.
PSU are the underdogs here but I am not sure by how much.
Penn State players seem to be over any disappointment they might have had about not playing for the national title. Going to the Rose Bowl, the nation's oldest bowl game, and facing USC, the most successful program in the country this decade, has excited the Lions (11-1).
"We get the least amount of respect of the (seven) one-loss teams," wide receiver Deon Butler said. "For everyone who says that or feels that way, here's our chance. We're going out to Pasadena, and we're going to play a great USC team. It's a chance to get that respect back.
"If you want to be the best, you have to play the best. Everybody knows that USC is the best."
I have no doubt that PSU will be up for this game, but the only thing that makes them underdogs is that the game is at the Rose Bowl and how dominant USC's defense is. There will be talk of this being an motional game but as the great John McKay used to say..."My wife Corky is very emotional but she's a terrible football player". You get the point....
SC will have their hands full but not its not like they haven't faced some tough match-ups in the past.
Another thing worth noting is that I have read how many think the Pac-10 is down this year and some are making the conclusion that because the Pac-10 is down that SC just blew through an easy schedule. It has been a tough year in the Pac-10 but its not like the Big 10 (11) is lighting the world on fire they have had their issues as well.
Its going to be a great game regardless...I just don't get worked up over all the emotion and talk about a lack of respect.